It hasn't felt very much like Spring lately in the Chicagoland area, but the calendar says it is, and in fact next Monday is a landmark Spring holiday--no, I'm not referring to Easter Monday. I mean April Fools' day! The prankster's tradition is a long one, going back more than 2,500 years in Persia, where the beginning of April marks the thirteenth day of the new year.
April Fools' traditions are many and varied around the world--for example, in Spain and Latin America pranks are generally done on December 28th instead of April 1st. In France, Italy, and Belgium the prankster's holiday is celebrated on April 1st as it is in other western countries, but the go-to prank is to tape a paper fish on the back of a friend, colleague, or family member. This traditions is know as "April Fish."
April Fools' day is one of my favorite holidays, and that's probably because I have a deep appreciation and admiration for the art of the prank. Good practical jokes are hard to get just right. If the joke doesn't go far enough, it's not funny...too far, and it's just mean. It's quite the fine line to walk, but it's totally worth it when everything goes right.
In honor of the day, I proffer to all you con-noisseurs, jokes-perts, and shenani-fans this list of the top 100 April Fools' Day hoaxes of all time, as well as the following list of books featuring some of the worlds' favorite fictional fools.